The Health Benefits of Stevia

The Short Answer:
What are the health benefits of Stevia? 


As an alternative to sugar, Stevia has many health benefits with regard to weight loss and preventing tooth decay. Researchers also believe it may have a positive influence on controlling blood sugar.

Health Benefits of Stevia

The Problem with Sugar

Consuming a diet rich in sugar not only leads to a higher possibility of developing Diabetes, but is also a major contributor to weight gain, heart disease, dental problems, lethargy, and high blood pressure. Fortunately, there are alternatives and arguably the best is Stevia. In fact, the health benefits of Stevia far outweigh other sweeteners such as Aspartame (better known as Equal or Nutrasweet) which has rather dubious health credentials, to say the least.

You may be surprised to learn just how much sugar we are consuming. While it is true that calories from added sugar have been in decline for a number of years (down from just over 18% in 2000 to 12.6% in 2016) for most people sugar still makes up over ten percent of total calories.

With such a high level of consumption, it is no wonder we are seeing adverse effects such as increased incidences of Diabetes.


What is Stevia?

The health benefits of stevia have been known for centuries. Stevia has been a popular sweetener in its country of origin, South America, for over 200 hundred years.

Stevia sweetener is the ground and crystallized form of the Stevia plant that is indigenous to South America. The plant itself, formally known as Stevia Rebaudiana, is part of the Sunflower and Chrysanthemum family. 

Stevia Plant

Due to Stevia's popularity as an all-natural sweetener, the plant is now cultivated worldwide, including in the United States.

Stevia's sweetness derives from the compounds in the plant known as steviol glycosides. Each of these compounds has a level of sweetness between 30 and 300 (once refined) times that of sugar and additionally does not ferment.


What are the Known Health Benefits of Stevia?

Not only is Stevia an all-natural sweetener with essentially zero calories, but it is also a product that is considered good for your health in general. However it must be said, the main health benefit of Stevia is as an alternative to sugar i.e. reducing intake and therefore negating the detrimental health implications of sugar is a major health benefit in itself.

Below are the some additional ways that Stevia has been found to improve your health:

Control blood sugar and Insulin levels

Stevia has been found to control blood sugar and insulin levels in Diabetics. This has been observed in either a fasted state or post meal. 

Researchers have discovered that stevia has the ability to activate TRPM5 due to the component 'Steviol'. TRPM5 is a protein responsible for our perceptions of taste and elicits an insulin response from the pancreas. 

This discovery could potentially lead to more effective Diabetes treatments in the future.

Stevia and Diabetes

Weight loss

Most of us are consuming over 10% of our caloric intake from sugar. Replacing sugar with a calorie free sweetener such as Stevia therefore reduces caloric intake. 

However that's not the only health benefits of stevia with regard to weight loss. 

Stevia is also thought to reduce hunger, increasing satiety. A Study conducted in August 2019 demonstrated this quite effectively.  When subjects consumed a portion of food equal to 290 calories sweetened with Stevia before consuming a meal, satiety levels remain the same. Alternatively, the control group received a portion of food equalling 490 calories and containing sugar.

Scales and measuring tape

Prevents tooth decay

Stevia hinders the production of plaque. Plaque is the leading cause of tooth decay. 

Bacteria that causes plaque metabolises sugar, releasing acid. This acid will break down the enamel of teeth, causing tooth decay.

Stevia on the other hand inhibits plaque development. Studies have indicated that rinsing with stevioside (a component of Stevia) resulted in an almost almost 58% less accumulation of plaque when compared to sugar.

Dentist Chair

Stevia Benefits and Side Effects

Is Stevia bad for you?

The truth about Stevia is that the FDA recognises Stevia as a safe product to consume and recommends an acceptable daily intake of 4 mg per kg of body weight. Stevia is free of any known side effects and studies have also demonstrated Stevia to be non-carcinogenic

There has been some conjecture however over potential side effects of Stevia however including:

  • Kidney damage
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Low blood pressure
  • allergic reaction

However, these potential side effects have been refuted over time, largely due to studies disproving and in some cases demonstrating the opposite result. I have listed several of these studies below.

Kidney Damage: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6129687/
Hypoglycemia: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4842244/
Allergic reaction: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198517/

Stevia Products - Recommended Brands

The great thing about stevia is there are many brands that you can choose from. We have listed below some of the most popular.

Stevia in the raw

Stevia in the Raw

This sweetener is popular because it is an all-natural form that is gluten-free and contains zero calories. The product includes tiny packets of tablets. This helps you to account for how much you are using. Generally, you only need one tablet to sweeten your drink or food.

Each tablet is equivalent to one tablespoon of sugar.

#2nd Rated
Now Foods Stevia

NOW Foods Stevia Sweetener

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris

#3rd Rated
Nu Naturals Stevia

NU Naturals Stevia

What makes this product unique is that it is marketed and produced by the National Nutritional Foods Association. The liquid form comes in many flavors such as lemon, peppermint, orange, and vanilla. 


Stevia for Coffee

While there are many brands to choose from, if you are looking for a specific brand for coffee, then NU Naturals Stevia is a great option. NU Naturals can enhance your coffee in its traditional tablet form, or you can also choose from a range of flavors.

If using the tablet option, you can divide and add to your coffee at your discretion depending on the level of sweetness you prefer. This high-quality option has no calories and won’t ruin the flavor of your coffee.


Stevia for Baking

Not every brand of Stevia is ideal for baking, which is why you need to be careful about what you use. The ideal brand for baking is again by NU Naturals. The reason behind this is that NU Naturals does not add Maltodextrin to their line of Stevia. This makes it making a better tasting and easily soluble option. This form of stevia is preferable for baking any type of pastry.


Frequently Asked Questions

How many stevia drops in a teaspoon?

How many stevia leaves to sweeten tea?

How far apart to plant stevia plants?

How much stevia is too much


Summary

The health benefits of stevia are numerous. By making the switch from sugar to stevia, you can reduce your caloric intake, and enjoy foods without the guilt. In addition, it is a wonderful substitute for coffee or baking, which means you can still enjoy your favorite drink or sweets without the calories and negative health qualities of sugar.

Leave a Comment

1 Shares
Share
Pin1
Tweet